Wednesday, October 24, 2012

True Blue

When did I start identifying with blue?  Blue eyes maybe. Blue blankets and other blue baby stuff for a boy.  It became at some point my favorite color and has grown in that regard.  So that now blue is an essential marker of me.  And my blue voice.

It turns out that "true blue" has a colorful meaning. In the New York Times:

For the French Fauvist painter and color gourmand Raoul Dufy, blue was the only color with enough strength of character to remain blue “in all its tones.” Darkened red looks brown and whitened red turns pink, Dufy said, while yellow blackens with shading and fades away in the light. But blue can be brightened or dimmed, the artist said, and “it will always stay blue.”

 And that blue fascinates more than me.  The Times story by Natalie Angier goes on:

 Scientists, too, have lately been bullish on blue, captivated by its optical purity, complexity and metaphorical fluency. They’re exploring the physics and chemistry of blueness in nature, the evolution of blue ornaments and blue come-ons, and the sheer brazenness of being blue when most earthly life forms opt for earthy raiments of beige, ruddy or taupe."

All that and more.  Blue by the way is the color of the throat chakra.  Blue voice.  How about that for metaphorical fluency?

The artist of blue most people think of is Picasso.  The Blue Period (brought on by the combination of the suicide of a friend and--at least according to Gertrude Stein--because someone gave him a lot of blue paint, and he was too poor to buy other colors.)

But I like blues in Klee, Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, Monet, Severini, Morris Graves, and Rene Magritte.  Magritte paints blue skies, usually in that mysterious luminous blue that partakes of both day and night.  It is the blue of dawn and the blue of dusk.  And one of the features of these paintings I love is, you can't tell which it is.  Everything is the dawn of something, and the dusk.

I wear a lot of blue. I enjoy it.  Beginning with its third season, the George Reeves Superman TV series of the 50s was filmed in color, even though it would be shown in black and white for the next decade or so.  When color TV was more widely available in the 60s, the series had a big revival.  But to both film in color and principally for black and white TV, almost everybody in Superman wore blue. I assume that was the reason.  All shades and patterns of blue.  Blue sweaters with blue suits. (And they didn't seem to change their outfits very often.)  Even the cars tended to be blue. I've got these on DVD.  It's my kind of world. 

Superman wore blue.  Doctor Who in his blue box. Spock in his blue uniform.  Now that new BBC Sherlock wears blue.  But it probably all comes down, or up, to that blue sky.  The blue ocean.  This blue planet.  This blue voice.

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